Same Old Story in Fort Mac

Death, taxes and Grande Prairie Storm losses to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.  Unfortunately, all of those seem to be unavoidable events.

Saturday night proved to be the same disappointing ending for the Storm as they've seen over-and-over again the past few seasons against the MOB, as the hometown Oil Barons skated to a 5-3 win. Grande Prairie has not won a single game against Fort McMurray going back over three seasons now.

A sluggish first period saw the Storm outshot 15-7 and outscored 2-0.  Gus Correale got the Storm on the board five minutes into the second, but the Oil Barons re-assumed their two goal lead before period's end.

When both Ryan Baskerville and Ryan Matthews scored in the first four minutes of the third to tie things up, it looked like the Storm may finally snap their three-year skid.  A pair of late Oil Baron goals, however, sealed the deal for the home squad.

In a game with just three minor penalties called, special teams ended up playing a major difference.  The Oil Barons were 2-for-2 with the man advantage, while the Storm failed to capitalize on their lone opportunity.

Including a pair of close losses early in the season, the Storm ended up 0-3 in the oil city this eason.  Ironically, the two clubs have yet to meet in Grande Prairie, but will do so three times in February.

Despite the loss, the Storm remain second in the AJHL North standings, as Drayton Valley fell 5-2 to Canmore and Bonnyville dropped a 5-3 decision to Whitecourt.  That leaves Grande Prairie one point ahead of the Thunder and two up on both the Pontiacs and the Wolverines.

Storm now return home for a four game stand at the Canada Games Arena, including games next Friday against the Olds Grizzlies and Saturday versus the Calgary Canucks.

– Story submitted by Don Whiteford of